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Guide for Buying a Pre-construction Condominium in Ontario

In the dynamic world of real estate, pre-construction condominiums have emerged as an enticing option for prospective buyers looking to make a sound investment in the real estate market. These developments, also known as off-plan condos, involve purchasing a condominium unit before construction is complete.

This article will delve into the various aspects of pre-construction condominiums, shedding light on their appeal and benefits for potential buyers.

pre construction condo

Understanding Pre-Construction Condominiums

Pre-construction condos offer an opportunity for individuals to secure a property before it is finished, allowing them to take advantage of the potential appreciation in value over time. 

This type of real estate investment involves working closely with a condo developer and navigating the condo-buying process. It typically begins with the buyer signing a real estate contract and providing a down payment or deposit, which is held in an escrow account until the project is completed.

Why Consider Buying a Pre-Construction Condominium?

Buying a pre-construction condominium can be a wise decision for many reasons. One of them is the potential for value appreciation, which means that buyers can benefit from increased property values over time, especially in areas where the demand is high. Another reason is the customization and modern amenities that pre-construction condos offer. 

Buyers can choose the floor plan and the finishes that suit their preferences and enjoy a living space that reflects their personality. They can also access modern amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and community spaces that enhance their lifestyle. 

Sometimes, developers offer special pricing incentives during the initial phases of a project, which can make pre-construction condos more affordable than completed units. Moreover, buyers can save money by taking advantage of low mortgage rates and lower closing costs compared to resale properties.

Did you know?
This year, 32,000 condo units are expected to be finished, breaking the previous high of 22,473 in 2020. 
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The Buying Process

In the exciting journey of purchasing a pre-construction condominium, it is essential to understand the steps involved in the buying process and the key factors to consider when evaluating potential properties. This part will guide you through the necessary steps and provide valuable insights on what to look for in a pre-construction condo.

10 Steps to Buying a Pre-Construction Condominium

The process of buying a pre-construction condo involves the following steps:

1.Research DevelopersBegin by researching various condo developers and their track records. Look for reputable developers with a history of delivering quality projects on time. Also, consider factors such as the development’s location, amenities, and projected property value.
2.Financial AssessmentBefore making any commitments, it is crucial to assess your financial readiness. Consult with a mortgage professional to determine your budget, explore available mortgage options, and get pre-approved for a loan.
3.Contract ReviewCarefully review the real estate contract provided by the developer. Seek legal advice to ensure you understand the terms, payment schedule, and any contingencies.
4.Reservation DepositWhen ready, submit a reservation deposit to secure your desired unit. This deposit is typically held in an escrow account until the project reaches specific milestones or completion.
5.Construction UpdatesThroughout the construction phase, stay informed about the development progress. The developer should provide regular updates and notify you of significant milestones or changes.
6.Unit SelectionAs the project advances, you will likely be invited to select your specific unit and choose from available condo floor plans. Consider factors such as layout, orientation, views, and upgrade options offered by the developer.
7.Finalize FinancingAs the completion date approaches, finalize your financing arrangements. Consult with your mortgage professional to secure a mortgage commitment and prepare for the closing process.
8.Property InspectionBefore closing, schedule a thorough property inspection to identify any construction deficiencies or issues that need to be addressed by the developer.
9.Closing ProcessAs the development nears completion, you will be contacted to complete the closing process. This typically involves signing the final purchase agreement, making the remaining down payment, and paying the closing costs, which may include fees for legal services, land transfer taxes, and other administrative expenses.
10.Take PossessionOnce the development is officially completed, you will receive possession of your unit. The condo association is established at this stage, and you will become a member. Familiarize yourself with the condo fees, regulations, and bylaws set by the association.

If perhaps, these 10 steps seem like a bit too much and you want more concisely packaged advice, here is Kim Huang giving her valuable thoughts on the matter:

Did you know?
Condo fees can vary between different Canadian cities. For example, the average condo fee in Montreal is only $0.30 per square foot, while the average condo fee in Toronto is $0.75 per square foot. 

What to Look for in a Pre-Construction Condo

When considering a pre-construction condo, it is essential to evaluate the following aspects:

Location: Assess the location’s desirability, proximity to amenities, transportation, and potential for future growth and development.

Developer Reputation: Research the track record of the developer, including their previous projects, quality of construction, and adherence to timelines.

Amenities and Features: Evaluate the amenities offered by the development, such as parking, fitness centers, recreational areas, and security features.

Condo Fees and Maintenance: Understand the condo fees, what they cover, and the level of maintenance provided by the condo association.

Future Appreciation Potential: Consider factors that may contribute to property appreciation, such as nearby infrastructure projects, urban development plans, and market trends.

pre-construction condo

Risks and Benefits

When considering a pre-construction condominium as a real estate investment, it is crucial to weigh the potential advantages against the inherent risks. This article will explore the benefits of buying a pre-construction condo and the risks involved, helping you make an informed decision.

Buying a pre-construction condo can be a smart investment opportunity, but it also comes with some challenges. Here are some of the pros and cons of buying a pre-construction condo.

Advantages of Buying a Pre-Construction Condominium

One of the main advantages of buying a pre-construction condo is the potential for appreciation. By buying early, you can benefit from the increase in property value as the development progresses and the surrounding area develops. You may also get a better deal than buying a completed unit, as developers may offer special pricing incentives and promotions during the pre-construction phase.

Another advantage is the customization and modern features that pre-construction condos offer. You can choose from a variety of condo floor plans and select the finishes that suit your taste, creating a personalized living space. You can also enjoy modern amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and community spaces that enhance your lifestyle.

A third advantage is the new construction advantage. By buying a brand-new unit, you can avoid immediate repairs and renovations, reducing potential maintenance costs. You can also benefit from low mortgage rates at the time of purchase, resulting in long-term savings.

A fourth advantage is the lower closing costs that pre-construction condos often have. Compared to resale properties, pre-construction condos may have lower fees for land transfer taxes, legal services, and other administrative expenses.

Did you know?
The 10-day cooling-off period mandated by law is another benefit of purchasing a new condominium in Ontario. During this time, a buyer can cancel an agreement without explanation or penalty.  

5 Risks Involved in Buying a Pre-Construction Condominium

While pre-construction condos have many advantages, they also have some risks that you should be aware of.

One of them is the delay in completion. Construction timelines may be affected by unforeseen factors such as weather, labour shortages, or permitting issues. These delays can extend the waiting period before you can take possession of your unit.

Another risk is the uncertain project outcome. Despite thorough research, unforeseen issues with the developer, financing, or construction quality can arise. These issues can affect the quality and value of your unit.

A third risk is the changes to plans and features. Developers may have the right to make changes to the initial plans and features of the development. These changes may not match your preferences and expectations.

A fourth risk is the lack of immediate rental income. Unlike buying a resale property, you cannot generate rental income from your pre-construction condo until it is completed. You should be prepared for a period without rental returns.

A fifth risk is market fluctuations. The real estate market can change over time due to economic factors, housing market trends, and changes in buyer preferences. These factors can influence the potential resale value of your pre-construction condo.

In order to reduce these risks, it is advisable to conduct thorough due diligence, work with reputable developers, review contracts carefully, and consult with professionals such as real estate agents and lawyers.

Did you know?
Condominium unit sales recorded through TRREB’s MLS® System were 4,519 in Q1 2023, down 42.9% from Q1 2022.  
buying a pre-construction condominium


What questions to ask when purchasing a condo? 

When purchasing a condo, it’s essential to ask the following seven questions:

  1. What are the condo fees, and what do they cover?
  2. Are there any upcoming special assessments or planned repairs?
  3. What amenities are included in the development?
  4. Are there any restrictions on renting out the unit?
  5. What are the parking arrangements for residents?
  6. How is the condo association managed and governed?
  7. Are there any pending legal issues or disputes related to the property?

What is one of the risks of buying a condominium? 

One of the risks of buying a condominium is the potential for unexpected increases in condo fees. These fees cover maintenance, repairs, and the operation of common areas within the development. If the condo association faces financial challenges or unexpected expenses, condo fees may increase, impacting the cost of ownership.

How much will buyers of a preconstructed condominium parcel typically put down to go into escrow? 

The amount buyers put down to go into escrow for a pre-construction condominium parcel can vary. It typically ranges between 5% to 20% of the purchase price. The specific amount is often outlined in the real estate contract provided by the developer.

Are Millennials buying condos? 

Yes, Millennials are a significant demographic group that is increasingly purchasing condos. Factors such as affordability, low maintenance requirements, and urban lifestyle preferences make condos an attractive option for many Millennials.

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Buying a Pre-construction Condominium – Final Words

Buying a pre-construction condominium can be a rewarding investment opportunity for some buyers, but it also comes with some challenges and risks that you should be aware of. You should consider your financial goals, lifestyle preferences, and risk tolerance before making your decision to buy a pre-construction condominium.

Don’t rush into a decision that you may regret later. Do your research, gather information, and compare different options. Choose the option that suits you best and meets your needs and expectations. 

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